Equality statistics making headlines again but are we getting real engagement with the issue?

It seems that we are never far from an equality and diversity statistic which indicates that the life reality for minority groups is markedly different from their majority group comparators. 

What then tends to happen is a strident call to arms such as “we must take action immediately” or that businesses who fail to change will have “nowhere to hide”.

While there is no doubt that there is much more to do, the way in which we engage with these complex issues is key to promoting longer-lasting cultural changes.  Although there has been an uncomfortable space created by the recent discussions around Brexit and immigration policy, one of the most potent causes of racial inequality especially within an employment context, is the existence of unconscious bias and prejudice.  This means that individuals within organisations will not self-identify as biased but will nevertheless persist in unconscious actions which perpetuate the differences between this and other minority groups.

When we review how the gender pay gap issue has been tackled in recent times, the most effective organisations have increased their success rates in moving towards greater equality by addressing the underlying (and natural) tendencies towards favouring majority groups (affinity bias).  This is not to say that it is easy to do, but it is virtually impossible to bring about lasting change if your starting message is to demonise the very people who have the power to effect such change.

We need a more sophisticated range of initiatives if we really want to see a difference.

The government says the figures released at 12:30 BST will suggest:

Black Caribbean pupils were being permanently excluded from school three times as often as White British pupils
At key stage two, 71% of Chinese primary school pupils met the expected standard for reading, writing and maths, compared with 54% of White British pupils and 13% of White Gypsy and Roma pupils
White British pupils on free school meals performed the worst in the second stage of primary school (key stage 2) with 32% reaching the expected level
Unemployment among black, Asian and other ethnic minorities is almost double that of white British adults
Those more likely to own their own home are Indian, Pakistani and white people compared with black people and those from Bangladesh